A few weeks back, hip-hop legend LL Cool J unexpectedly posted a photo to his Facebook page that showed him sitting in the control room of a studio… next to Eddie Van Halen. Van Halen hasn’t guested on too many albums in recent years, so this came as something of a shock.
Radio.com sat down LL, who talked about working with the guitar legend, who is one of many guests on his upcoming album, Authentic:
“Working with Eddie was just amazing,” he said. “I just really wanted to work with the best, work with people that I respect, people that I look up to, people that impress me, people that I believe are truly super talented… and even more talented than myself. I feel like Eddie falls in that category. Now Eddie Van Halen has officially done a hip-hop record. And I have officially worked with one of the greatest guitarists that ever lived.”
The song is called “We’re The Greatest,” but the famously un-humble MC was quick to point out that the lyrics may not (necessarily) be self-referential.
“It’s speaking about all of us,” he told Radio.com. “It’s not necessarily about me and Eddie per se. It’s about people that kinda get tossed aside, forgotten about, kicked down, and then they make a comeback in life and they regain that ground that they had lost, and then some. So that’s why it opens up like (he raps the lyrics):
‘Knock knock, who’s there, the one, remember me? / I’m looking kinda different these days/ Don’t you agree?/ You’re boy’s doing it big this year. Didn’t you see?/ The hell with the Devil, there’s no sympathy…’
While he praises Van Halen for their innovation, he wants his fans to know that their collaboration is shaped to his tastes as an MC.
“I am in no way trying to put myself on the level of Van Halen or say that — I don’t want Van Halen fans to get the wrong impression like I don’t respect their legacy or who they are,” he said. “I do. I just wanted to do something with Eddie that I think is cool. And, I think we accomplished something great. I hope they dig it.”
Authentic, which will be available April 30, also features guest contributions from other great guitarists, including Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and country picker/singer Brad Paisley. To read more about those songs, go to Radio.com.
— Brian Ives and Scott Sterling, Radio.com.